KINGSTON, N.H. (CBS) – New Hampshire firefighters said it was a “personal battle” as they worked to knock down flames at the Kingston fire chief’s home.
The fire started around 5:45 p.m. on Sunday at Fire Chief Graham Pellerin’s house on Woodland Drive.READ MORE: Mass. To Receive Significantly Less Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine Doses Next Week
Pellerin said he got a call from his neighbor saying they were “headed to our house to check on the dogs because they think my house is on fire. I left immediately and responded to my own house for a structure fire,” he told WBZ-TV.
The neighbor called 911 and Pellerin also called dispatch.
Heavy flames were showing when crews arrived, and departments from surrounding towns were called in to help.
“When I got there, there were — it’s a two-story single-family house — and there were flames coming out of two rooms on the second floor,” Pellerin said.
“You kind of put your emotions aside, try to just do what you’re trained to do,” said Pellerin. “A benefit is that you know the layout and where everything is.”
The neighbors were able to get the two dogs out safely. Pellerin also knew his wife and son weren’t inside.READ MORE: Dorchester Grandmother Killed In Shooting While Sitting On Her Front Porch
East Kingston Fire Chief Ed Warren took command of the scene in order to allow Pellerin to focus on his family. “We work very closely with East Kingston and Chief Ed Warren so when he got on scene, like every other scene that we co-work and co-command, he just came up and said ‘hey, what do you need?’ And I said ‘I need you to take this scene,'” Pellerin said.
According to Warren, aggressive work by firefighters helped save the home from becoming a total loss. The house will need extensive repairs.
“I am overwhelmed by the amount of support my family has received over the past 24 hours. It truly means everything to us,” Pellerin said. “I am used to fighting fires, but I have never been in the role of property owner, dealing with the aftermath of insurance claims and sudden relocation. It has certainly given me new perspective on the job.”
Initial investigation determined it was an accidental electrical fire.
“This is a personal battle. Chief Pellerin is family. We were fighting to save the home of one of our own tonight, and the firefighters performed admirably under difficult circumstances,” Warren said. “What matters most is that Chief Pellerin and his family were not hurt.”
Fire chiefs from the region are raising money to support Pellerin’s family. Donations can be mailed to:
Seacoast Chief Fire Officers Mutual Aid District
P.O. Box 1288
Hampton, NH 03843
Pellerin said they are fully insured and staying with friends right now.